Mortise in oak in 4 minutes
OK, I hope you will take my word for it, but a 3/8″ (12mm) by 1 1/4″ deep by 2 1/4″ long mortise hole generally takes me about 4 minutes to chop in solid oak using my system and skill, a Marples blue chip bevel-edged chisel (not an Irwin made in China) and a panel beating chisel hammer.
The mortise will be perfectly parallel to the outside face of the leg and perfectly aligned within the mortise so the tenon will align perfectly. A critical aspect to prevent building twist into any aspect of any work. I use a mortise machines frequently enough and have no problem with anyone that uses them, but I actually prefer to cut mortises by hand whenever I can and if its practicable. I call this real woodworking, so a chest like this one that will have 18 mortise holes of varying sizes will take me roughly an hour and fifteen minutes if I take no breaks. Not too long in the overall scheme of things.
Yesterday I stacked up my planed foursquare legs ready for laying out. I gang them up and clamp them so that all rails correspond perfectly and layout for mortises are exactly aligned with no discrepancy. It takes only a few minutes or so.